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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 1, Issue 1, 1985

Javier de Lorenzo
Pages 87-120

Pascal y los indivisibles

The pascalian use of indivisibles is here considered in the context of the theological and mathematical debates of the time, by distinguishing it clearly from this of Cavalieri. The combinatory and geometrical approaches are closely linked in Pascal’s work. His use of indivisibles has a heuristic, inventive character and not only a demonstrative one. Ontologically speaking, it stems out from the acceptance of actual infinite. The use of the symmetry axiom of Archimedes is the basis of the pascalian use of the infinitesimals, which has, in other respects, some close connexions with the Leibnizian conception of infinitesimals.